Or the end of the old one, depending on your opinion, and the facts. Technicalities aside, the 10s was big decade for me.

It was the decade I left my 50s behind.

The decade I left my home and moved Home.

The decade I left my income and started drawing Social Security.

The decade three of my four grandsons were born.

The decade I started writing a book and the decade I sent my manuscript off to be edited.

The decade I helped make several improvements to this old house happen.

The decade I started hiking.

The decade my old cat died.

The decade my mother died. And the other three remaining family members of the “greatest generation” left too.

Speaking of the greatest generation, I have so many projects to do: painting; window washing; returning to cleaning out the room over the carport; writing a book proposal; attending to the mess I have made in the “storage” room in the basement that is filled with the detritus of the 60 years one family has lived in this house. I haven’t posted on my blog since the solstice, nor even a Wordless Wednesday since before that. I’ve done nothing to learn to use my new camera. But all I want to do is excerpt and transcribe letters written during a war that ended 75 years ago by people who are all dead now.

I do long for a sun-sparkly day to go to a drive where there is snow, since I have a feeling there isn’t going to be any here this winter. But there is nothing but rain in the forecast here, and falling snow, not sun-sparkling snow where I want to go.

10-day Cent.png



And so I sit, spending time with the writings of people aching to get back to their real lives, interrupted just as they were beginning to live it.

I did don rubber boots and dragged myself from the cozy electric fireplace and my dead people this morning while the sun was shining and got out into the woods. The walk inspired me to write a blog post. As I write, the rain is pattering again on the skylights. For once I didn’t miss the narrow window of opportunity.



I noticed something in my yoga practice last month: for the first time in the 15-some years since my body first graced (I use the term loosely) a yoga mat, I could get my right foot from downward facing dog to lunge in one movement. That is, from the back of the mat to my hands without a mid-way stop. I was kind of stunned. I thought maybe I had imagined it. With the holiday interruption, I haven’t had much opportunity to test the phenomenon; but this week I not only did it with my right foot, but also with my left!

What does it mean?


Well, it means that at 67-1/2, my body can still accomplish new things. It’s not all downhill from here out. I’m ready to begin this new decade and learn some new tricks.

Beginning with my camera, which should be easy compared to the terrifying possibility that my memoir really will be published and I might have to do book talks in this decade.


It means that maybe I really can weave 1500 letters together into a historical narrative that people will want to read. And, if I stay as interested and focused as I have been, with the generosity of time I have had lately, I might be able to do it in this decade. Of course, when winter is over, there will be much to pull me away, so maybe I won’t feel bad now for spending so much time with my nose in the past.

It means that my body isn’t ready to give up 10-mile hikes in the mountains, one of the passions that will take me away from the letters when spring swings into its fullness, about the time the garden needs to be planted and the blow down from winter storms needs to be gathered. (Those four grandsons need to come and help me.)

On the first day of the new year, I did my annual “spread for the new year” with the Gaian tarot deck created by my lovely friend Joanna Powell Colbert (one of many new friendships formed in the decade of the 10s). The last card in the 2019 spread—in the “key theme for the new year” position—was the Teacher. One option for the new year’s spread is to move that card to the first position, “what do I leave behind.” Interestingly, I had already been feeling the need to remake the lovely writing circle I have been facilitating for two or so years. I was not born to be a teacher, it’s stressful and saps my energy. I probably figured that out when I tried to be a school counselor in the 90s. Anyway, it was affirming, and I have already reached out to the group with a transformation idea.


1. What do I leave behind? But I drew a new card too, the two of water. The image on the card is of a white-haired woman embracing her dog companion in front of a waterfall. I drew it reversed. I have become familiar enough with these cards to interpret what they mean for me. And this one was affirmation that, after a two-year hiatus, it’s time for a new four-legged companion again. To give up the freedom not having one brings and embrace the balance of needing to be in relationship, to again care for another being and to be loved.

2. What do I open up to? The guardian of earth is a powerful person who can be depended on. Drawn reversed, as mine was because my whole deck was upside down, it can indicate a reluctance to share. I know I am content to be a hermit. I am committing to opening up more this year, to sharing myself. (And since the year began I have been to a movie with a friend and have three coffee dates this coming week.)

This card leads to the next.

3. A key opportunity. The lovers remind us to follow our passion. What gives me deep joy? Am I pursuing it? The shadow side may indicate that I am too protective of my solitude, I hold myself back, in relationship and in trying new things. Like, ugh, giving book talks, of selling myself and my art.

4. A key challenge. Guardian of water isn’t far off from my draw of the lovers as opportunity. I am reluctant to expose my naked self, my fear, my doubt. Does opportunity always walk hand-in-hand with challenge? Probably so.

5. Hidden concern. In the six of fire, a group of women dance around a fire. My circle of fire is spread across the country, and I wish they were close by. I can do nothing about that, but I can seek ways to keep the fire burning, to not lose their friendship like I have of  so many  when I moved away from all the places I have lived. While I thrive on solitude, isolation frightens me. Or it seems like it should.

6. Deep wisdom. Becoming new again, like a child engrossed in discovery. It’s never too late to be a beginner, including a publishing beginner, and all the other things I want to begin.

And finally,

7. Key theme of the new year:  The Star. I love this for a theme. Look deep into the water. Envision yourself as a strong person. Behold the sparkling stars. Life is not over. Be filled with renewal, hope, and inspiration. Begin a practice of gratitude.

I am filled with gratitude for your presence here
as we walk together with hope into this decade.


4 thoughts on “Notes from the New Decade

  1. I love this Gretchen–thank you so much for letting me/us into your process and celebration. I miss you–keep writing–let’s get together sometime before too long… don’t just drive by on your way to Joanna’s. 🙂 Also about that four-legged, just saying puppy raising is intense! Hard to keep writing, and doing life–puppy training is life… but worth it for the joyful companionship… you may be thinking “cat” –much easier, one presumes.
    love in the new year, Christina

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Christina. You and Ann are two of the best things of the past decade. I would love to get together! Always. Yep, cats are easier. Plus I won’t get a baby…or even a teenager! You are brave, or…something else. 🙂 xoxo


  2. Oh yes, I know the downward dog to lunge energy & yes, one side is easier than the other! I am grateful for a growing discipline to do yoga, regularly with go-to-class commitment! It feels good, as does the yoga!

    You have much to enjoy, be proud of. We all do, we just need to stop & notice!

    Thanks always for your inspired writing!

    Liked by 1 person

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